In News Distribution, we distribute some 6.7 million newspapers and magazines, using 1,700 vehicles which cover 130,000 miles as we undertake the ‘nightly miracle’ 364 days of the year throughout the UK and Ireland.
We are experts in time-critical logistics and we are proud of the long-standing relationships we have with retailers and publishers alike. Using our fleet we cover 130,000 miles every day – the equivalent of driving around the world 5 times. We also employ a dedicated team of almost 4,000 individuals to collect, collate and deliver newspapers and magazines. We use sophisticated software to ensure we are deploying the most economical vehicles on the best routes possible, and we have invested heavily in state-of-the-art technology to ensure our packing and returns systems are the best they can be.
We operate a network of distribution branches, covering 66% of the UK, built around 9 ‘Hub’ locations which act as administrative and magazine-packing centres. These hubs feed 26 spoke locations, which act as staging points and newspaper-packing centres for highly time-critical news distribution. As our drivers distribute new products, they collect unsold material which is returned to our nearest branch for processing, credit and recycling.
Our ability to grow as a business whilst delivering our existing service offering is dependent not only on our people, but on the tools we give them. We’ve invested heavily in ensuring we have the latest technology at our operations disposal; from HS packing machines, and Axon returns scanners, to Optrak route mapping, to Track and Trace delivery monitoring. Supporting all of this is SAP, which has enabled a wide spectrum of process improvements and efficiencies across the business since its implementation was completed in 2012.
In addition to our delivery and collection service, we offer customers the option to manage their accounts digitally via i-menzies.com – and a smartphone app, which has now been downloaded more than 6,000 times. 30% of our customers now make use of these digital facilities on a monthly basis, maintaining order levels, registering queries and using a range of information services. Using our SAP infrastructure, we provide publishing clients with more information, more quickly than ever before – aiding their print forecasts and contributing to the overall efficiency of the supply chain.
Our core newspaper and magazine delivery has been at the heart of the Group for almost 180 years. It has operated in consistent and relatively stable markets. Over recent years it has operated to provide stability whilst providing funds for growth in the aviation business. As its core market enters a structural decline, opportunities exist to exploit its full UK-wide geographical spread and expertise in time-critical delivery. The division continues to be highly cash generative and with a current focus on continual efficiency gains and exploitation of the network, there is a positive future for the core news distribution business.
As the market has changed, the business has adapted its product offering, purchasing Orbital in 2012 and growing Menzies Marketing Services, which helps businesses to both maximise existing sales opportunities and to open up new channels, new markets and new revenue streams, getting them closer to their consumers. The combined capability of our services enables clients to maximise sales and distribution and improve reach with retailers and corporates. The clear focus is in areas that complement, enhance and add value to the businesses and skill sets within the existing portfolio of individual companies. The Marketing Service business provides a wide portfolio of services complementary to the core news and magazine distribution business.